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Vlogbrothers will start their own con in October

Do we really need another geek convention? When the Vlogbrothers are involved, the answer is always yes.


Aja Romano


Posted on Mar 27, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 5:13 am CDT

The Vlogbrothers—novelist John Green and performer/science nerd Hank Green—have long sat at the center of a vast YouTube network, the core duo linking a number of geeky subcultures.

So it only makes sense that now Hank Green has founded a new convention that appeals to his admittedly broad-ranging interests.

On his weekly Vlogbrothers update Friday, Green announced the creation of NerdCon, a new two-day convention to be held in Minneapolis this fall.

The convention will be themed “Stories” (as in NerdCon: Stories) and will be held Oct. 9–10 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Judging by the guest lineup, the con is targeted at fans of speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy/horror) and Young Adult literature, as well as gaming, podcasts, and other geek-friendly areas.

Confirmed guests include a dazzling array of publishing superstars like John Scalzi, Patrick Rothfuss, Cassandra Clare, and Jacqueline Woodson, as well as beloved weird fiction podcast Welcome to Night Vale.

The con’s website went live in conjunction with the announcement and briefly crashed under what we can only assume were thousands of Nerdfighters lining up to reserve a spot at what Green modestly predicts will be a “small” con.

Given how many irons the Greens have in the fire, it seems unlikely this small con will remain that way. Hank pointed out that “NerdCon: Stories” might possibly undergo theme changes from year to year, which would perfectly fit the Green brothers’ wide-ranging interests. Together they helm numerous science and educational channels on YouTube, like the popular SciShow. They direct the community around YouTube’s central industry and community conference, VidCon, which they founded in 2010 and which had a whopping 17,000 attendees last year. 

The Green brothers also have ties to the Harry Potter fandom and its offshoots. Hank has performed with numerous Wizard Wrock bands and both have partnered with the progressive nonprofit Harry Potter Alliance. Hank also founded the successful transmedia company Pemberley Digital, with its popular retellings of classical stories like the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which won an Emmy in 2013. 

And last but never least, they commandeer their own massive Nerdfighters fanbase, often in pursuit of socially progressive activities like annual fundraising, political awareness, and general awesomeness.

In addition to the guest lineup, the NerdCon website also includes a broad wish list of activities that attendees can potentially look forward to.

  • Celebrated scenes from popular novels converted into radio dramas.
  • Open-mic storytelling, open to special guests and attendees.
  • Short keynote panels and talks interspersed with spoken word and hip-hop performances.
  • A conversation about dealing with race in stories featuring a musician, a poet, a radio producer, and a fantasy author.
  • Live table-top games featuring well-known authors and story-tellers.
  • Signings with well-known, successful storytellers.
  • A dealer room with NerdCon-specific currency (every attendee will get a token for a free paperback and a free hardcover, more tokens can be purchased.)

The convention’s new Tumblr noted that these ideas were still in-progress, and that “We’d love to get as many attendees as possible directly involved in public storytelling at the event.”

Fans were predictably ecstatic.

After all, it’s the foundation for all those fan bases that already have conventions—Trekkies, Whovians, etc. It’s not just a show, or a book, or a movie that brings these people together—it’s a shared story. And that’s kinda beautiful.

Though the idea of another con might seem uninteresting for fans who have hitherto had plenty of opportunities to see the Green brothers at VidCon, and frequently at LeakyCon (now GeekyCon), it’s the natural next step for a brand which has always had close connections to fandom. Moreover, the open-ended theme leaves room for expanding the con’s focus and making it more accessible to more people, all without losing touch with their core Nerdfighter fanbase.

The October date may be a tough call for some die-hard geeks, as the con clashes with New York Comic Con on the East Coast as well as Geek Girl Con on the West Coast.

But for those lucky enough to make the trip, NerdCon promises to be a classic Green brothers event: fun, nerdy, and hopefully the start of bigger things to come.

Screengrab via Vlogbrothers/YouTube

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*First Published: Mar 27, 2015, 6:45 pm CDT